REVIEW: “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” (Star Trek: Remastered edition)

Star Trek (Remastered): “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”
Remastered Episode #29 (5/5/2007)
Original Episode #21 (1/26/1967)

After last week’s light-on-effects installment of Star Trek: Remastered, “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” provides the CBS Digital team the opportunity to show off a bit.

Though I unfortunately didn’t receive them in time for a preview article, I’ve intermixed pictures from CBS for this weekend’s episode with my review. Click on each picture to view larger versions.

After encountering a black star that hurls her across time and space, the Enterprise falls into a low Earth orbit, nearly out of control. The year: 1969. Just a week before the launch of Apollo 11.

The initial shot of the Enterprise in 1969 is somewhat disappointing. The tiny ship wobbles unrealistically, a little too reminiscent of the 1967 effect for my tastes.

After a return from the opening credits commercial break, though, CBS Digital more than makes up for the weak start with an awe-inspiring view of the Enterprise as she flies over the US midwest (below).

Enterprise above midwest

I’m sure that RiffTrax‘s Mike Nelson would call this “fanboy porn,” but if so I’m definitely a fanboy when it comes to TOS. I replayed this sequence several times before proceeding with the episode.

For me, this marks the true achievement of Star Trek: Remastered‘s potential, a chance to see the original Enterprise as we always imagined her. The new series has been a classic Trek fan’s dream come true.

Spotting the Enterprise on radar, the US Air Force sends up a jet fighter to intercept. As the crew regains control of the starship, Spock notes that the fighter’s nuclear weapons could prove a danger if the pilot were to open fire.

The Enterprise snags the fighter in a tractor beam, but the aircraft begins to break apart. With no other choice, they beam pilot John Christopher (Roger Perry) aboard.

Enterprise, Earth orbit

Throughout the episode are fantastic shots of the Enterprise orbiting Earth (including the one above). Though the pilot has been beamed aboard a ship from 300 years in the future, Kirk naturally decides to give Christopher a tour of the vessel, with no restrictions on what he learns.

As they enter the bridge, Christopher is relieved to find that Kirk is from Earth of the future, rather than an alien. “I never have believed in little green men,” says Christopher, who then looks up to see Mr. Spock for the first time.

“Nor have I,” replies the Vulcan.

There’s a bit of fun in this episode, as the ship’s computer has recently been reprogrammed on the female-dominated Cygnet XIV to respond as a flirty woman rather than in the normal monotone, much to Spock and Kirk’s dismay.

Kirk and Spock soon must deliver bad news to Christopher: he cannot return to Earth of 1969, for he has seen and heard too much about the future and could pose a danger to the timeline. There are other problems, though, for no one is sure how to return the Enterprise to the 23rd century.

Though it is a solid episode, “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” is not stellar. Parts of it drag on, including a subplot to retrieve footage of the Enterprise taken by Christopher’s aircraft while in flight. A subplot rendered meaningless by the episode’s conclusion, I might add.

Enterprise approaches sun

The updated effects are mixed, alternating between unbelievably great and disappointingly mediocre. I’m not sure why there is such a marked difference, except perhaps for the issue that plagues all projects: lack of time. I will say that the good stuff here is terrific enough to make up for the mediocre. I am left with a feeling of awe, which is how Star Trek is supposed to be.

One aspect of Star Trek: Remastered that I have failed to highlight in previous reviews is the overall enhancement to the picture throughout each episode, not just the effects. Even compared to the 2004 DVDs, these newly broadcast versions have much more vibrant colors and a crisper look.

In many ways, “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” is the perfect episode for the Star Trek: Remastered concept. The original version suffered due to the limitations of the 1967 effects (one shot of the Enterprise leaving Earth had portions of the warp nacelles disappearing, for instance). Now, today is yesterday, and it is as if Remastered line producer Michael Okuda and crew were able to slingshot around the sun and give the 1967 team a bit of 2007 technology.

Dramatic Content: 7 (out of 10)
Effects Upgrades: 8
Overall Experience: 8

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